They have a respected and lasting name in contemporary punk. Killyourstereo.com talks with Mathias of Swedish outfit Millencolin. We chat about Warped Tour, skateboarding, Australia, the band…and drag racing.
So how does it feel to be one of the bigger names on the Warped Tour Australia bill?
Very nice. Australia has always been a special place for us to go as it was actually the first place we went outside of Europe; back in ’96. It feels great to be on the headliners for this tour as we actually did the US and Europe Warped Tours as well. But it hasn’t been around in Australia for at least twelve years. Is that right?
Yeah around about there.
A long time ago! (laughs)
(laughs) I’d say so too.
How do you think Warped AU will compare to the American and European versions of it?
I think it’s going to be better. If you look at the American version then you’ll see that there is at least ten weeks of touring and maybe sometimes there’s been too many bands. Like eight stages running at the same time with bands playing. So it becomes very hectic in a small, cramped area. So not as many bands this time around in Australia; I don’t know how many stages but there will defiantly be a lot more room and space. And that’s sort of why we’re really looking forward to doing it.
Tell me about your feelings towards the Australian fan base. You said that this is a special place to you and I noticed that three of five winners in your tattoo competition were Australian.
It’s a very loyal and strong fanbase over there. I mean, we’ve had a lot of success in Australia with two gold records and we’ve always had that with Australia. I don’t know why but that’s just how it’s been. And we love it!
I caught you’re performance back in 2011 at Soundwave and I was very impressed with what I saw.
Oh wow, thanks, man.
What was that tour like for you guys?
Well, for that tour we played Pennybridge Pioneers in its entirety and that was cool because we had actually never done that before. But that was a great tour for us because there were a lot of great bands on there. We’re really looking forward to returning because of all of our good memories from that. It still feels like yesterday. (laughs)
A question that the fans are eager to hear an answer for I can suspect: will you’re setlist be compromised of mainly Pennybridge and Home from Home songs?
Yeah. It’s always going to be like that and it’s been awhile since we’ve done a new album so you always try and mix songs. A couple songs from every album you’ve done really because the fans all have different favourites. And I mean, Pennybridge is our most successful album so we always play a lot from that but you’d also want to try something different in Australia. Maybe a new song… But it’s going to be a mix of everything so fans will enjoy it.
Did you ever think that Millencolin would reach that twenty year milestone that you have?
No. You never think that way. We just started the band I guess because we were skaters and all the skaters had their own skate-punk bands. So we just wanted to be like everyone else. I guess we didn’t actually have any goals at all really. We just wanted to make music. Then we got picked up by Burning Heart and from that it’s just been going and going for twenty years! Since I left school this has been my job, I’ve never done anything else.
While you mention skateboarding, your song, ‘No Cigars’ is associated a lot with Tony Hawk: Pro Skater 2. Do you play those sort of games?
Yeah. I remember we did the Warped Tour back in…I can’t remember which year sorry. But anyway, we knew a skater named Steve Caballero and he told us about this game that he was going to be in called Tony Hawk Skateboarding and that was really cool. He gave us a demo of the game that we played in our tour bus and then Tony Hawk asked us if we wanted a song on the game. And of course we did! So we put ‘No Cigar’ on that game and that ended up being a huge selling game. And at that time games were on a CD-R disc and you could only fit like eight or so songs on that. So it was a very big thing to be on. Like nowadays, [games] are all on Blu-Ray discs and there are thousands of songs on those.
So it was a very special and almost exclusive thing to be a part of?
Yeah definitely. I guess it helped our career a lot in a way. Really got our name out there and gave us some exposure.
I don’t know how true this is, but apparently Millencolin is the Swedish translation for the skateboarding trick, melon?
Yeah, it’s actually the translation for the word melancholy, which is what that trick’s full name is. We changed a bit of spelling to make it more accessible for English [speaking] fans but no; that’s how we got the name.
Speaking of melancholy, what was it like to be reflection on all those old songs on the Melancholy Connection?
It was real fun. It’s always fun to put stuff like that together and remember all those good times, you know?
So I heard through Facebook that you broke a record in drag racing?
Yeah I’m a very serious drag racer.
How’d you get into that?
Well, I actually got my driver’s license very late at 27 and I’ve always thought about stuff like, “If I wanna do this, I’ve got to do it very good”. And I guess I started doing it and became a fanatic. I drove a lot of illegal street races and I always loved Ford Mustangs so I started building engines and got involved in racing in a thing called Super Stock. I got a pretty nice car and I’ve been doing well this year in European and Swedish championships. And then I won that record for the fastest Mustang in Europe, it was pretty cool!
(laughs) Yeah, it’s pretty crazy!
Is that something you intend to do in life after Millencolin?
Oh, definitely. I mean, it’s something that is hard to because in America is probably the only place you could be a professional drag racer and live off that. It’s an expensive hobby but I like to do it when I have time and it’s a rush. You always want to be the best and that what it is all about I guess. (laughs).
Favourite place to tour?
I have to say Australia, don’t I? (laughs)
What band are you most excited to be playing alongside at Warped AU?
There’s a band called The Used; they’re going to play and we have a really good friend of ours working with them. I also like Parkway Drive a lot too; they’re going to be great to see live.
Everyone else in Australia feels the same about Parkway; an Australian icon they are.
I should bloody well hope so! (laughs)
What advice do you have for patrons attending Warped AU?
Go nuts and see Millencolin! It’s only for one day so make every second count.
Any intentions of doing a sideshow in Perth, WA seeing as their missing out on the action?
I’ve heard rumours. But I don’t know anything about. We’ll see what happens; I’m not really allowed to say anything anyway.
So it’s secretive.
Maybe…maybe not? (laughs)
Any last message to the fans and readers?
I just want to say that I hope all our fans come check us out; we’re gonna put on a great show and check us out on Facebook. We’re doing some cool stuff soon so keep an eye out.